When Google Photos initially launched, they told us that the difference between High Quality photos and Original Quality wasn’t much and the two had “near-identical visual quality”. But with the changes in their storage quality happening in a few months, it looks like they’re changing their tune. Google is now telling users that if they want the best quality of photos uploaded, they should upload it in the Original Quality rather than High Quality. They’re also showing the difference between the two, saying the latter will bring “irreversible damage” to your original photos.
The reason for this “warning” is kind of obvious. Starting June 1, the unlimited storage for Google Photos will be going away. This means all photos uploaded, including the smaller High Quality version will be counted against your total Google Storage quota. And if you’re using the free version, this means you only have 15GB to be used across all. So if you heed Google’s advice to upload the photos in its Original Quality, then you will need to subscribe to more Google storage.
If you’re not familiar with how Google Photo storage works, or at least how storing photos there currently works, you can choose to upload either High Quality or Original Quality. The former is a slightly compressed one while the latter is the actual size and quality of the photo or video when you took it. But now, according to Forbes, Google reportedly emailed subscribers that uploading in the original quality will “preserve the most detail and let you zoo, in, crop, and print photos with less pixelation”.
Of course this is actually true but years ago, Google was saying that even if you upload in High Quality only, it’s almost identical to the original photos. Their goal back then was to get people to compress their photos so everyone can still get the unlimited storage offer. But now that we’re getting close to the new storage policy, the goal is to get people to subscribe to Google One plans to get more storage space.
You still have a few months to enjoy the unlimited storage on Google Photos but before June 1 comes, you’ll have to decide whether to just use a different photo storage or subscribe to Google One if you run out of space. You will also decide if you believe Google that uploading in High Quality will “damage” the original quality of your photos.